"It’s the reality in Syria" – TV3’s Mike McRoberts on Sonny Bill’s graphic images

By Mānia Clarke

Graphic images of dead children in Syria tweeted by All Black Sonny Bill Williams has stirred up mixed reactions on social media. This follows his visit to Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon.

With the aim of highlighting the plight of refugee children in Lebanon, Williams asks "What did these children do to deserve this?"

One Māori Muslim has come out in support of the rugby star. 

Te Rata Hikairo, “Firstly, he really wants to honour and commemorate those who've died, secondly, to let the world know tragic effects of the war.”

Williams visited Syrian refugee camps as an UNICEF Ambassador alongside fellow ambassador and TV3 journalist Mike McRoberts.

McRoberts says, “He really got that fact that at the end of the day they're just like us, they're mothers and fathers and they've been put in this terrible situation through no fault of their own, and really we need to do something about it.  His last word's to me when left Lebanon was, ‘I need to do more’ and he has.”

But the question is, should the images be online?

“He's an individual. He's also a husband and a father of a one-year-old girl, so he would have thought about what he was posting.  They are very confronting and I guess that's the point, you know it's the reality of what's happening in Syria day in day out,” said McRoberts.

Te Rata Hikairo says, “It may not align with our customs but above that is about loving people, loving people,”

Williams makes it clear, we haven't heard the last from him on the plight of refugees in the Middle East.